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Day 27: a cup of coffee & a dose of reality.

today was weird. at first i was excited about my fika visit. for once, i knew where i was going. and i was really looking forward to it. not that i had any real major expectations or anything, but i had passed this particular cafe numerous times and knew that one day soon i’d visit. and, hey, i was in west asheville. and, if you’re following me during my 40 days, you know by now that i seriously dig west asheville and haywood road.

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i wandered around haywood road for a while, enjoying the cool breeze, the warm sun, and the autumn-like feel in the air. people were out and about. it was busy – not in a busy, annoying kind of way; but in a “people are enjoying life, moving about” kind of way. everything felt alive. and that felt good.

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i finally entered the cafe, which i immediately noticed was not really a small, cozy cafe. instead, it was wide open with tables and chair filling the entire place. very stylish, and keeping with the industrial-ish design of many other places. but, a bit more modern and updated than funky. i think i would refer to it as a bakery & cafe, rather than a coffeehouse. well, it’s name is west end bakery. i suppose that is what it is. it was a little bit more starbucksy than some of the other places i’ve been to. which is totally fine. just different. bigger. and it didn’t really have that intimate feel to it.

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and it was filled with people. lots of people. clearly this was a popular place for sandwiches, pastries, and bread. i stepped up to the counter, ordered a pumpkin spice latte and found an empty table – not an easy feat, mind you. unfortunately, my table was right in front of the door and in the middle of everything. no chance of being inconspicuous at all today. but, perhaps i was due for a change.

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i got my latte and began sipping and people-watching, my main activity during my time there. there were just so many people to watch. people were sitting very close to me, so i couldn’t help but overhear conversations… which was cool, i admit.

so, today, instead of burying my head in a book or working on my computer, i just observed. i didn’t even talk to anyone – not that there was anyone who i could have really talked to. everyone was so busy and in their own little worlds. but, i listened. and watched. it was a room filled with real people discussing real life. there was a girl one table over from me who was talking with a woman. the girl mentioned her major and her first job. i could tell they didn’t really know each other, and i was so curious about both of their stories. and then, there was the table of three ladies sitting behind my table discussing their children. one lady was concerned and upset because her child didn’t want to go to church anymore. finally, there was a table of three people having a pretty serious meeting – they were talking about funding a local, no-kill animal shelter. of course there were also a few lone rebels like myself scattered throughout the bakery, all of them reading or working on a computer – which is what you do when you are fika-ing alone.

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perhaps it wasn’t the most exciting of fika moments i’ve had in these past 26 days… but, it was real. and it gave me a chance to think again about how we are all connected. how we all have our own things going on in life, but really we are all the same deep within. our traditions, beliefs, customs, and even looks, may be completely different, but that is what makes this world beautiful. the diversity on the outside, and the inside, spiritual connectedness that binds us all together as humans.

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today’s fika may not have been the crazy, wild adventure that it has been most days. what it was, though, was a chance to sip yummy coffee and observe the world around me. it was a chance be content with the simplicity and regular-ness of a place. it’s so easy to get bored, isn’t it? especially bored with regular life. what’s not so easy is to turn boredom into acceptance, and learning to love the present moment – no matter what comes our way.

yes, one little fika can teach me all of that. it’s amazing what comes from a cup of coffee, isn’t it?

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namaste. /liz

west end bakery . 757 haywood road. asheville, nc . www.westendbakery.com

About Liz McGuire

Liz is a blogger, writer, and amateur photographer in Asheville, NC. She is a returning expat, re-adjusting to American life after living in Sweden for the past three years. On any given day you can find her planning her next adventure with her wife, blogging away on her blog (www.belovelive.com) about daily life and social issues, and discovering little hidden gems and secret places in the city. She faithfully totes her camera and her coffee mug everywhere she goes. And she’s always up for a conversation about spirituality, politics, or other taboo topics. You can find her on the web at www.belovelive.com.

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